How my two boys saved me from death
Mary Wambui plays peekaboo with her one year and five-month-old son. Baby Moses, as he is fondly known, giggles and coos as the mother falls into hearty laughter.
She is grateful she lived to see her baby. Because on the fateful night of April 24, 2018, the heavily pregnant Wambui had lost hope of living.
She had even bid his two sons, Oscar Wairimi aged 11, and James Maina eight, goodbye.
You see, that night Wambui and her two sons had retired to bed early in readiness for another day. Her husband was not around.
At around midnight, a loud bang woke her up. She also felt something hit her head. She couldn’t figure what was happening.
Stuck in the mad
Worried about the safety of her sons in another room, she called their names to know if they were okay.
They said they were well, but told her they felt like their house was being swept away.
At first, Wambui dismissed them. The worst that could have happened, according to her, was that a tree had fallen on their house following the long heavy rains that continued to pound, but a house being swept? No!
The grave reality would dawn on her as they tried to find their way out and she realised the house had been swept away.
They were stuck in the mud. They relied on flashes of light from lightning to see their surrounding and used the fallen trees as ladders to safety.
“We tried calling out for help, but no one could hear us as it was raining heavily and sounds of thunder were intense,” says Wambui who hails from Murang’a.
The three struggled to find their way out of the mud for close to three hours and finally Wairimi and his brother managed to get to safe grounds.
However, their mother who was heavily pregnant was giving up and the mudslide was pushing her towards the nearby river Mathioya, which was swollen.
Wambui was exhausted. She was losing hope. So, she bid her children goodbye and told them to run to safety as she stared at death.
“I got into a ditch, and mud covered me up to the chest. I could not see myself getting out. I told my sons to go well and that I was happy to have been their mother,” she says.
Unexpectedly, the two sons jumped back into the mud and tried to pull her out.
They struggled for a while and miraculously managed to get her out. The three then sought refuge at their neighbour’s house.
Wambui was amazed by the boldness and strength of the two boys. “I don’t know how they did it, but they said we would rather all drown together, instead of them watch me die,” she says tearfully.
Few days later, she gave birth to a boy who she named ‘Moses’ like the biblical Moses who was also rescued from the river.
Wairimi says hearing his mother bidding them farewell sent a wave of pain through his heart.
The thought of living without her was unimaginable. “We couldn’t let our mum drown as we watch. She is our life, — we share a strong bond. She showers us with love and guides us in life.
How could we live without her? We told her we better die together than watch her leave us behind to live without a mother,” he says.
Though they struggled to rescue her, Wairimi says the effort and risk was worth it.
Wambui’s second son, Maina, says they knew their mother was expecting another child and they had waited for his arrival.
“We were eager to have a new member of the family and we had to make sure we save them both,” he says.
To Wambui, the boys are the reason she is alive today and she considers them heroes.
“I couldn’t imagine they would save me, but they were determined to get me out of the mud,” she adds. The boys have also developed a strong bond with their baby brother.
Wambui attributes their heroic acts of risking their lives to save her to how she has raised them. “I have taught them to be kind and be willing to help anyone in need,” the proud mother says.
Wairimi and Maina also help her around the house, especially in taking care of their little brother.
For the last one-and-a-half years, the family has been living at a camp at Gitugi Polytechnic. Their house was swept away and their land completely destroyed.
Their acts of boldness has seen them rewarded by several well-wishers, among them Ahadi Trust boss Dr Stanley Kamau.
Kamau donated a dairy cow to the boys to help them improve their livelihood.
He said the two youngsters serve as role models to their agemates and prove that anyone can always do something to help a person in need.